When planning renovations for the future or imminent sale of your home it is wise to consider home features buyers want. This translates into money well spent, something we refer to as ROI (return on investment). You will enjoy the immediate benefit of any renovation project in your Vermont home, but it is wise to plan ahead for a future sale. Some highly sought after (and necessary) features such as a well maintained septic system in a country home simply need to be respected and maintained over the years. Other features, such as smart home technology, will be a very smart upgrade to any home, providing a very high ROI with as little as a $176-$1,475 investment for basic features (very smart indeed).
It’s always best to partner with a trusted real estate agent when thinking about selling your home. They will know the local market like the back of their hand, including what buyers want. Here are some of the hottest home features to consider while planning home renovations and upgrades to keep the money flowing back to you (in the long run).
Vermont Specific Features
Vermont Contemporary Design: Modern home design includes a number of standard items, such as an open floor plan. Vermont Contemporary Design doesn’t take elements, like open floor plans, for granted. A large part of the design process focuses on how to bring homeowners closer to nature, and the spaces are designed to do just that. The owner, who is also a veteran designer, from Cushman Design Group in Stowe, Vermont spoke with New England Home Magazine in 2021. When addressing floor plans the designer shared an example when designing homes in the country: ” … in rural areas, you don’t need a Colonial-style layout with a front door facing the street and sidewalk. That formal convention doesn’t exist in wide-open spaces.”
Insulation: When shopping for homes in New England an intelligent buyer will want to ensure a home has a well designed insulation plan. The winters get cold up here, and the money spent on heating a home shouldn’t be leaking outside. Buyers will be looking for homes with an efficient “building envelope” (what separates the conditioned and unconditioned environment of a building). Building materials, insulation, windows, and doors with a high “R-Value” will all contribute favorably to your building envelope.
Modern Septic: The highest rate of septic system usage in the United States is in Vermont. Around 55% of homes and businesses use on site systems, according to Mary Clark, an environmental program manager for the state of Vermont in 2018, who spoke with Pumper Magazine (a magazine dedicated to the liquid waste industry).
Although not as glamorous as other modern home features, this feature is imperative for any household in a country home, or any household not serviced by a municipal wastewater treatment facility. Unless homes are otherwise connected to a public sewer, astute buyers will be looking for homes with well maintained and respected modern septic systems. Respected translates to not flushing non-flushable items, and having the tank pumped and inspected at least once every three years.
Buyers will want to know you have treated your system with care, and that it will function for years to come. The systems are expensive to replace. The cost for a new septic system in Vermont was $10,000-$25,000 in 2022. The state of Vermont has posted three simplified Dos and Don’ts images for protecting your septic system (Do’s & Don’ts, Protect Your Pipes, Think at the Sink) to assist new homeowners and their guests in navigating the luxury of using indoor plumbing in an upscale rural Vermont home.
Green Architecture: Homes that incorporate elements of green architecture are highly sought after, and for good reason. They are built with respect to the planet, lower energy consumption, and protect your wallet. You will save money on your energy bill thanks to green architecture.
Green architecture homes are designed around naturally occurring elements (like the path of the sun) to tap into solar gain in the winter by strategic window placement and utilize the shade provided by the lush foliage of a mature tree in the summer to block solar gain. Green architecture places a high value on the strategic placement of windows, walls, and roofs. It also values the use of Energy Star Appliances, high performing windows and doors, the reuse and safety of building materials, and the use of alternative energy sources when possible (i.e. solar and wind power).
Smart Home Technology: We are living in the digital age. Home buyers will be looking for homes that are already equipped with smart home technology. Incorporating a smart home assistant and essential devices such as smart thermostats, smart security systems, smart locks, and smart home detectors will be money well spent when you are getting ready to sell your home in the 22nd year of the 3rd millennium. Simplicity, reliability, security, and interoperability (choosing devices that work natively together) are important to consider when introducing smart technology into your home. Smart homes command higher prices, and will be attractive to potential customers when the smart devices are installed and functioning (“Ok Google, lock the front door”).
Heney Realtors is Montpelier Vermont’s Premier Independent Real Estate Brokerage. We have been serving Central Vermont since 1956. We recognize that every town is unique and every market is different. When choosing to work with us you are choosing a team of realtors who know the Vermont market and the best way to sell your home. Contact us today!